Friday, May 18, 2012

Virtue - Hospitality

Hospitality is a virtue has the ability to truly define a person and a culture.

Traditionally Hospitality is defined as the way a person treats a guest.  The ancient Greeks were famous for their Hospitality towards wandering strangers.  In ancient times the act of Hospitality towards strangers was taken for granted.  One could never know when a stranger was a god in disguise and did not want incur the wrath of Zeus or what ever deity was at their door.  It was also possible that someday they would be traveling the lands and would need the Hospitality of others so in hopes of someday being treated well by their host, Greeks were encouraged to be good hosts.  It is not only the host who has the duty of Hospitality though, the guest also has rules of etiquette to follow.  No guest is to abuse the graciousness of their host or to over stay their welcome.

So what does this mean for us in this modern age where strangers are feared and the guidelines of etiquette have all but disappeared from our society?  For me it means we need to rethink our society.  If we can revive the divine nature of Hospitality we will become better people for it.  To be Hospitable to those you invite into your home and your life shows a greater quality of character than is normally shown in people today.  Each person you meet is deserving of your friendliness, generosity, and compassion until they prove themselves unworthy of it.  And likewise we are not to abuse the Hospitality shown to us by others but rather be grateful and kind in return.

Hospitality is usually found in the context of a guest/host situation but I believe that this can and should be expanded to all who we meet.  If we practice Hospitality in our daily lives, everywhere we go, we become the gracious host, it becomes apart of our nature.  This is not to say that all are deserving of our generosity and compassion, but all should be given the chance to receive it from us until they prove themselves unwanted guests in our lives, that is when Hospitality ends.  And on the flip side of that coin we must at all times be aware of Hospitality shown to us and make a conscious effort not to abuse it.

If we live our lives by the right and divine treatment of others then we too shall be treated divinely.  Each of has a spark of the divine in us, each of us IS god.  Therefor when someone comes to you for aid or just for afternoon tea, they come to you as a representative of the divine, in disguise.  Treat each of them as honored and you in turn shall be honored and you will be increasing the illumination of your inner divinity.

I will always strive to be a good host
I will honor those who come to me for aid or company
In return I shall endeavor to be gracious guest
Always thankful for the kindness shown to me
And I shall never overstay my welcome

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